Designate a point person to be in charge—this way, everyone stays on the same page, even from afar.

You and your siblings were planning on treating Mom to a fabulous brunch on Mother's Day. There would have been heartfelt toasts, thoughtful gifts, and lots of laughter around your dining room table. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit and threw your plans (and the majority of your routine) for a loop, you were forced to get creative. Luckily, you can still be with her—virtually, that is—this Mother's Day. And while you're at it, invite Grandma and your family's other matriarchs to this year's FaceTime event, too.

mothers day brunch quiche with handwritten kid note
Credit: Marley Spoon

While you and your siblings will all work together to coordinate a virtual Mother's Day meal, one of you should be appointed the event's formal host. Having a designated point person will make the online event run more smoothly—especially for those who aren't so technologically savvy. Ahead, we outline your responsibilities as this year's virtual hostess.

Send the invitations.

Like with any party, your family and friends need to be invited to your virtual Mother's Day brunch. Let them know well in advance that the event will be a digital one, for starters. Then, communicate which video conferencing service you'll  be using, like Zoom (note: only the first 40 minutes are free for a group meeting on this platform!), Skype, Google Hangout, or FaceTime. Give guests the exact date and start time and explain how they should enter the chat; if your platform requires distributing a link ahead of the event, make it your job to do so.

Offer to give family members a tutorial.

Some of your loved ones may not be familiar with video-conferencing—Mom included!—and will need some extra help setting up. Offer to assist well before May 10 (especially if you're also cooking something day-of). Need to communicate this how-to information to several people? Put together an email tutorial as a guide, then offer to help troubleshoot should they run into any issues.

Manage the agenda.

If you've been on a Zoom call, you know it can get chaotic: Everyone talks at once, making it hard to keep conversations focused. Alert loved ones ahead of time that you'll be the one setting the agenda, then do your best to keep toasts, meals, and gift opening (should you surprise Mom with a few special somethings on her doorstep!) on track, so that your mother feels like the guest of honor at all times.

Prepare a few talking points.

Of course, the opposite can happen. Video chat first-timers might feel awkward in front of the camera, which could lead to one awkward silence after the next. Prepare a few talking points (a favorite story about Mom is foolproof!) or ask family members specific questions to ease them into the mix. If conversation is limited due to a technical issue or human error (maybe your aunt isn't speaking loudly enough for the mic to pick up her voice), be the one to step up and address the situation. And remember: As host—even a digital one—it's also your job to gently, but firmly move the party along if the topic of conversation, like politics, turns Mom's special day into a (virtual) brawl. It's also up to you to thank everyone for coming, and then acknowledge when it's time to sign off.


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